St Agnes' Stand
An injured outlaw - heading for freedom in California - stumbles across the trapped survivors of an apache ambush: three nuns and seven orphaned children. Sister St Agnes, a resourceful woman, is convinced that Nat Swanson is sent by God to rescue them. Set in the mid-19th century.
Comments from Groups
This book was a huge hit with the group. Gripping reading, emotionally powerful. The scenes of apache violence were too much for some to read and they had to skim over those sections.The story had pace and while a dense read, was a relatively quick one. Auckland 285
At first sight it appeared to be a Western and we were not sure about it but it was a fascinating book and led to lots of discussion. Our Methodist minister thought St Agnes was brilliant. Ashburton 009
Surprisingly everyone liked this book...The descriptions of the land and characters were excellent. Some discussion on superstition and mysticism. Auckland 164
Despite the unappealing genre (ie. Western) most agreed this was the best read of the year. Auckland 191
Thomas Eidson generated heaps of discussion and continuing email discussion. Must be good! Wellington 079
Well written and very easy to read and become absorbed in the story. Discussion was lively. Christchurch 136
Well liked by all except one who could not get past the graphic brutality. Generated a lot of discussion. Tauranga 026
The characters were fully drawn and we loved the 'Western' element. Mangawhai 002
We all loved it...great moments of anticipation. Several parts had the heart pounding with anxiety for the characters. Riverton 001
Despite a shocking beginning, we ended up being swept away by this wonderful story. None of us had ever read a Western before.
We didn't read this book because of lockdown.
This novel turned out to be a very pleasant surprise, totally unexpected. All liked it and enjoyed the characters and the evocative descriptions of the landscape. The torture and violence was unpleasant but was probably typical of the times. In spite of that it was a short, easy read with a tidy ending.
Most enjoyed this book and found it gripping. A well-structured, well-written book.
This was reviewed at our very first meeting. We all found it an easy read although some found the violence very vivid and parts of the storyline unbelievable.
The group was undecided about this book. Most had not read a western before and found the book fascinating while others thought it was too unbelievable.
All but one member found this book enjoyable. "An easy read that ripped along, nice to have a short story" None of us had read a Western before so it has opened up a new genre. The one member who didn't enjoy it found the violence hard to get past.
A western for our book club of girls only! AND we all enjoyed it, and appreciated the subtleties of the novel. The scene where Nat laments the death of 'Dog' brought up plenty of connections within the group. Short but very satisfactory novel.
Exactly half our group enjoyed this book and half did not. Everyone agreed that the descriptive writing of the landscape was excellent, but the violence and thin plot were the reasons for members not enjoying it.
Loved the book! We all did. Unputdownable.
An unexpectedly good read. A bit gruesome in parts, but very compelling and enjoyed by all. Good discussion - would like to know more about these times from the Indian perspective.
This book provoked a vigorous discussion. One thought it stereotyped and too violent. The majority disliked the violence but understood it went with the territory. The variations on your standard western tropes gave interest, and the simple prose was suitable.
What a surprise! Almost without exception, when our group began this book, we decided it wasn't for us. Within a short space of time however, we were thoroughly drawn into the story and the development of the characters, in particular Nat's character. So much did we enjoy it, apart from one rating of 7, the remainder ranged from 9-9.5 to one of 10.
All of us, except one, enjoyed the book. It followed a more or less predictable pattern, then became more and more implausible so that you had to suspend disbelief. It finished satisfyingly, although improbably. Such is the way with westerns. It was not only goodies vs. baddies but also Christianity vs. animism, that caused some of our members to consider it a bit racist, but as someone once said, " The past is another country; they do things differently there".